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Somewhere over the rainbow

Rainbow flags are flying high this month, not only on this blog, but also in cities across the world. Gwendolyn Horton over at Design Notes, my former home, explains the origin and design of the striped symbol of freedom.

She writes “Originally made with eight stripes – pink for sexuality; red for life; orange for healing; yellow for sun; green for nature; blue for art; indigo for harmony; and violet for spirit – the combination proved impossible to mass produce because hot pink (always the drama queen) was not commercially available in nylon. The flag was reduced to seven stripes, and then to six after Harvey Milk was murdered. Following that tragedy, Baker’s flag was the symbol needed to demonstrate the unity of the community, but because the Pride Parade Committee of 1979 wanted to hang the flag from light posts with the stripes divided evenly, the indigo stripe (sorry harmony) was removed so there would be three colors on each side.”

Although the rainbow adorns many tacky t-shirts and freedom rings and bumper stickers, when you really strip down its core design, and meaning, what remains is a solid, powerful, and clear symbol of unity.

Be sure to check out her post’s comments. They’re equally informative as the original post.